Red Sox in season discussion

BornToRun

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They have also never played a full season where 6 teams in each league qualify for the playoffs.
The 2011 team started 2-12 and finished like 7-20. Despite that, they still won 90 games and were a blown save and Carl Crawford being a loser away from at least forcing a 163. The bullpen might continue to be an issue but I want to meet the person who thinks this offense will continue to OPS like a pitcher. April is over and it’s time to forget about it. Move on and have a good May.
 

cantor44

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The 2011 team started 2-12 and finished like 7-20. Despite that, they still won 90 games and were a blown save and Carl Crawford being a loser away from at least forcing a 163. The bullpen might continue to be an issue but I want to meet the person who thinks this offense will continue to OPS like a pitcher. April is over and it’s time to forget about it. Move on and have a good May.
Yes, they could still make the playoffs - especially with six teams. But it might be a bigger uphill climb than meets the eye - especially given the strength of the division. The odds, even this early on, with this record, are against it.
 

nvalvo

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From Speier:

"the Sox haven’t reached the playoffs after posting a losing record through 23 games since 1967, and they’ve never reached the postseason after a start that was this bad."
Fangraphs has the Sox' playoff odds at 36.3%, which seemed high to me until I looked a bit closer. As of now, we're projected in a tight race against the White Sox and the Mariners for the sixth AL playoff spot. Boston is not the only pre-season contender in the AL having a poor April.
 

lexrageorge

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From Speier:

"the Sox haven’t reached the playoffs after posting a losing record through 23 games since 1967, and they’ve never reached the postseason after a start that was this bad."
I've decided to take the bait here, and dig into this.

First, it was a bit disingenuous of Speier, who is normally very good, to ignore 1967 season itself, where the Red Sox started 11-12 and went to Game 7 of the World Series.

Anyway, looking at the seasons the Sox started with a losing record over 23 games. Data below is record, games out of playoffs, and percent of teams in the American League that made the playoffs in that season:

1968: 11-12, finished 17 GB, 10% of teams reached post-season. 1969 started divisional play.
1972*: 9-14, 0.5 GB, 17%
1973: 10-13, 8 GB, 17%
1974: 10-13, 7 GB, 17%
1976: 8-15, 15.5 GB, 17%
1980: 11-12, 19 GB, 14%
1981**: 10-13, 1.5 GB, 29%
1984: 9-14, 18 GB, 17%
1985: 11-12, 18.5 GB, 17%
1987: 10-13, 20 GB, 17%
1989: 11-12, 6 GB, 17%
1996: 6-17, 3 GB***, 29%
2010: 11-12, 6 GB, 29%
2011: 10-13, 1 GB, 29%
2012: 11-12, 24 GB, 36% (first year of 2nd wild card team)
2014: 10-13, 17 GB, 33% (NL expansion moved Astros to AL)
2019: 9-14, 16 GB, 33%
2020: 6-17, 8 GB, 53% (CoVid season)
2022: 9-14, TBD, 40% (3rd wild card)


*: 1972 Players strike resulting in the Sox playing one less game than Detroit.
**: 1981 season was divided in 2 as a result of mid-season players' strike. Sox finished 1.5 GB in the 2nd half race, and 4 teams from AL qualified for post-season.
***: 1996 season was the 2nd year of the wild card. GB from this point forward represents games out of playoffs as opposed to games out of division.

So, it's happened 18 times, but never with as much of a chance of making the post-season as 2022 (ignoring the lost 2020 season as that is a true outlier). In a couple of those seasons they were in the race come September (1972, 1974, 1981, 1996, and 2011).
 

cantor44

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I've decided to take the bait here, and dig into this.

First, it was a bit disingenuous of Speier, who is normally very good, to ignore 1967 season itself, where the Red Sox started 11-12 and went to Game 7 of the World Series.

Anyway, looking at the seasons the Sox started with a losing record over 23 games. Data below is record, games out of playoffs, and percent of teams in the American League that made the playoffs in that season:

1968: 11-12, finished 17 GB, 10% of teams reached post-season. 1969 started divisional play.
1972*: 9-14, 0.5 GB, 17%
1973: 10-13, 8 GB, 17%
1974: 10-13, 7 GB, 17%
1976: 8-15, 15.5 GB, 17%
1980: 11-12, 19 GB, 14%
1981**: 10-13, 1.5 GB, 29%
1984: 9-14, 18 GB, 17%
1985: 11-12, 18.5 GB, 17%
1987: 10-13, 20 GB, 17%
1989: 11-12, 6 GB, 17%
1996: 6-17, 3 GB***, 29%
2010: 11-12, 6 GB, 29%
2011: 10-13, 1 GB, 29%
2012: 11-12, 24 GB, 36% (first year of 2nd wild card team)
2014: 10-13, 17 GB, 33% (NL expansion moved Astros to AL)
2019: 9-14, 16 GB, 33%
2020: 6-17, 8 GB, 53% (CoVid season)
2022: 9-14, TBD, 40% (3rd wild card)


*: 1972 Players strike resulting in the Sox playing one less game than Detroit.
**: 1981 season was divided in 2 as a result of mid-season players' strike. Sox finished 1.5 GB in the 2nd half race, and 4 teams from AL qualified for post-season.
***: 1996 season was the 2nd year of the wild card. GB from this point forward represents games out of playoffs as opposed to games out of division.

So, it's happened 18 times, but never with as much of a chance of making the post-season as 2022 (ignoring the lost 2020 season as that is a true outlier). In a couple of those seasons they were in the race come September (1972, 1974, 1981, 1996, and 2011).
fantastic that you did this - thanks!
 

Archer1979

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Fossum was never rated that highly. I don't know about Sadler.

The last 20 or so years, the sox have had really good luck on the can't miss (hitting) prospects outside of Blake Swihart.
The funny thing I remember about Casey Fossum is that the Sox didn't regard him all that highly until they started talking to other clubs at one of the trade deadlines and the other clubs kept bringing him up.

That's when they started to take a look at him. The pre-Henry Sox FO was a hot mess.
 
Dec 28, 2015
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That's when they started to take a look at him. The pre-Henry Sox FO was a hot mess.

That's not true. Dan Duquette (1994-2002) was a competent GM who was especially strong in his early years (acquiring Pedro, drafting Nomar). He inherited a bad situation (Butch Hobson, a dry farm system) and took the Sox to three playoff appearances.

Duquette was not good in dealing with the press and with some people in the organization. He was called out on this by Pete Gammons. So in that sense the front office may have been messy, but not in the way you mean.
 

pokey_reese

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Ohtani left today’s game with a groin injury so there’s even less reason to go.

If there’s a good crowd I’ll be disappointed. This team is a disgrace and fans should expect better than this garbage. They shouldn’t draw flies if they play like this.
I’m gonna go ahead and say that this is a bad take. This is some entitled, pink hat nonsense. You will be disappointed if the hometown team draws a good crowd? The team with a top-10 payroll and an improving farm system? Who are you trying to punish? What happened to a hotdog at the ballpark beating a steak at the Ritz? Are you a west coast fair weather fan?

Be disappointed in the results if you want. Criticize the FO if you think the roster is poorly constructed. But rooting for poor attendance, rooting against the players and your fellow fans, for a team that is in no way tanking, is childish.

Go to a game, be the solution. Soak in a nice May evening, have a snack and keep your eyes peeled for a foul ball. Watch Raffy spit and joke with the umpire. Jump to your feet when Story flies out to the warning track. Tell me that’s not a damn fine way to spend a night, that you didn’t have any fun.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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If you continue to pour money into ownership’s pockets despite the crappy product on the field then they’ll have zero incentive to improve the club or to sign either of their young superstars to contract extensions.

They’re 10-15. Neither X nor Devers are signed and both look to be gone soon. You’re going to pay several hundred dollars to see a 10-15 baseball team that’s running off its two best players? Why? They had enough money to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins but not enough to extend their best and most popular players. Why would anyone be happy about that?

Look I like going to games at Fenway too but at some point the product has to be good to watch. This season it simply hasn’t been. We’re not obligated to pay a lot of money to watch them play badly. The team/fan social contract too often seems to go only one way.

EDIT: this sounds very negative (fairly, IMO) but honestly it’s not meant to be. At some point you have to make difficult decisions as a fan. I don’t think blind support helps anyone any more. Craig Calcaterra just released a book on this topic and it’s made me question a lot of fandom stuff I used to take for granted.
 
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twibnotes

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If you continue to pour money into ownership’s pockets despite the crappy product on the field then they’ll have zero incentive to improve the club or to sign either of their young superstars to contract extensions.

They’re 10-15. Neither X nor Devers are signed and both look to be gone soon. You’re going to pay several hundred dollars to see a 10-15 baseball team that’s running off its two best players? Why? They had enough money to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins but not enough to extend their best and most popular players. Why would anyone be happy about that?

Look I like going to games at Fenway too but at some point the product has to be good to watch. This season it simply hasn’t been. We’re not obligated to pay a lot of money to watch them play badly. The team/fan social contract too often seems to go only one way.

EDIT: this sounds very negative (fairly, IMO) but honestly it’s not meant to be. At some point you have to make difficult decisions as a fan. I don’t think blind support helps anyone any more. Craig Calcaterra just released a book on this topic and it’s made me question a lot of fandom stuff I used to take for granted.

I agree with this take. The Red Sox charge an awful lot of money for tickets and concessions, and I don't think it is unreasonable to at least dial back one's spending if the product is waning.

One thing that would make a bad baseball team easier to stomach is if they did more to improve the fan experience. In the interest of sponsorships, they have reduced choices for the fans. You can't even get brown mustard on a Fenway Frank. We live in an area w/tons of awesome, small craft breweries, and the park is basically dominated by Sam Adams. Just show me you care about me as a fan beyond just the (currently mediocre) product on the field.

I think they were super smart to keep Fenway b/c there is an appeal there that "just another Camden" wouldn't have had...but I also think it makes it easy for the Sox to sellout even in down years. It's still a bucket list item for tourists and a must-do for many New Englanders.

A buddy of mine lived in Pittsburgh for a spell and said kids got to go on the field to run the bases after the game. The Red Sox don't "need" to do stuff like that, but it wouldn't cost much to do it - show the fans you care about their business and fandom.
 

Ale Xander

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I agree with this take. The Red Sox charge an awful lot of money for tickets and concessions, and I don't think it is unreasonable to at least dial back one's spending if the product is waning.

One thing that would make a bad baseball team easier to stomach is if they did more to improve the fan experience. In the interest of sponsorships, they have reduced choices for the fans. You can't even get brown mustard on a Fenway Frank. We live in an area w/tons of awesome, small craft breweries, and the park is basically dominated by Sam Adams. Just show me you care about me as a fan beyond just the (currently mediocre) product on the field.

I think they were super smart to keep Fenway b/c there is an appeal there that "just another Camden" wouldn't have had...but I also think it makes it easy for the Sox to sellout even in down years. It's still a bucket list item for tourists and a must-do for many New Englanders.

A buddy of mine lived in Pittsburgh for a spell and said kids got to go on the field to run the bases after the game. The Red Sox don't "need" to do stuff like that, but it wouldn't cost much to do it - show the fans you care about their business and fandom.
Is it every game in a Pittsburgh?
Fenway does it for about 5 get away days a year
 

Ganthem

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If you continue to pour money into ownership’s pockets despite the crappy product on the field then they’ll have zero incentive to improve the club or to sign either of their young superstars to contract extensions.

They’re 10-15. Neither X nor Devers are signed and both look to be gone soon. You’re going to pay several hundred dollars to see a 10-15 baseball team that’s running off its two best players? Why? They had enough money to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins but not enough to extend their best and most popular players. Why would anyone be happy about that?

Look I like going to games at Fenway too but at some point the product has to be good to watch. This season it simply hasn’t been. We’re not obligated to pay a lot of money to watch them play badly. The team/fan social contract too often seems to go only one way.

EDIT: this sounds very negative (fairly, IMO) but honestly it’s not meant to be. At some point you have to make difficult decisions as a fan. I don’t think blind support helps anyone any more. Craig Calcaterra just released a book on this topic and it’s made me question a lot of fandom stuff I used to take for granted.
There is no indication that they are running off their two best players. There is indications that Bloom is not the type of GM to just throw money at a player if he and the rest of the front office doesn't think it makes sense. Raffy and Boegy are great players no doubt, but their are flaws in their game that beg some serious questions about signing either of them long term. There is also no indication that ownership ever felt like they didn't have to improve the club. In fact since Henry and company bought the club, it appears they very much want to put out a decent product year in and year out. At the end of the day Bloom and the ownership group could care less about what moves the fans want. Even if the Sox finish in last place this year, the minute they appear back in contention the following year the seats will fill up. I would be very interested to see a list of every poster who said they were done with this team after the Betts trade and to compare it to a list of every poster who was commenting in the playoff game thread last year.
 

BaseballJones

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You know it's going bad, bad, bad when the one part of your team that's been an unmitigated disaster finally shows up, only to have other parts of the team crap the bed.

The offense had averaged 2.6 runs a game over their previous 13. Then twice in their last three games they manage to score 5 (!!!) runs. Only to lose BOTH those games because the pitching imploded.

In fact, the last three games they've scored 5 runs (4/26 at Tor, 5/1 at Bal, and 5/4 vs LAA), they've lost all three: 6-5 in 10, 9-5, and now 10-5 in 10.

When it's going bad, you just find ways to lose. Pitching is great but the bats do nothing and you lose 1-0 or 2-1 (as has happened in the last week). Actually hit the ball decent but your pitching goes off the rails and you lose 9-5 and 10-5 (as has happened in the last week).

It's just so frustrating as a fan to watch this. I'm nowhere near where SJH is, but I'm further down that road than I was 10 days ago, that's for sure.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Adding to what BJ said, I believe they’ve lost every game Whitlock has started even though he’s pitched well. That single move, made necessary by Houck’s stupidity, has derailed the season.

The bullpen has blown a ton of games because Whitlock isn’t there, including last night’s. It’s been awful to watch.
 

BaseballJones

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Adding to what BJ said, I believe they’ve lost every game Whitlock has started even though he’s pitched well. That single move, made necessary by Houck’s stupidity, has derailed the season.

The bullpen has blown a ton of games because Whitlock isn’t there, including last night’s. It’s been awful to watch.
Well in some ways, the ideal scenario is for both Whitlock and Houck - both of whom have pitched GREAT this year - to be in the bullpen, but they'll have to wait til Paxton and Sale return for that to happen.

And FWIW, Whitlock appeared in relief four times this season. And in one of those, he blew the save and the Sox lost the game. So blowing the save one out of every four appearances isn't good at all for an ace reliever. Small sample size, obviously, but it's all the data we have for him this season. So it's not like having him in the bullpen guarantees anything either.

As a starter, he's done this: 3 g, 12.0 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 2 er, 2 bb, 18 k, 0.75 whip, 13.5 k/9

But SJH is right: they're 0-3 in his three starts:

Lost to Tampa, 3-2.
Lost to Toronto, 1-0.
Lost to LAA, 10-5. (after being up 3-2, then 4-3 in the 9th)
 

moondog80

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My preference is to keep Whitlock in his current role -- if his role was to close out the game last night, that's 5 innings you have to replace at the beginning and maybe there's no lead to close out. The bullpen is not doing their job, but that's a different problem, one that is easier (and cheaper) to fix than finding a starter of Whitlock's ability.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Well in some ways, the ideal scenario is for both Whitlock and Houck - both of whom have pitched GREAT this year - to be in the bullpen, but they'll have to wait til Paxton and Sale return for that to happen.

And FWIW, Whitlock appeared in relief four times this season. And in one of those, he blew the save and the Sox lost the game. So blowing the save one out of every four appearances isn't good at all for an ace reliever. Small sample size, obviously, but it's all the data we have for him this season. So it's not like having him in the bullpen guarantees anything either.

As a starter, he's done this: 3 g, 12.0 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 2 er, 2 bb, 18 k, 0.75 whip, 13.5 k/9

But SJH is right: they're 0-3 in his three starts:

Lost to Tampa, 3-2.
Lost to Toronto, 1-0.
Lost to LAA, 10-5. (after being up 3-2, then 4-3 in the 9th)
He's right that they're 0-3 in his starts. But that's about it. Whitlock in the pen doesn't magically turn around all those blown save losses. 8 total blown saves this year have led to 6 losses. One of those games was a Whitlock blown save (followed by another after they re-gained the lead). So that's 5 games a Whitlock-less pen has lost a lead. In three of those, the team scored 2 or fewer runs. I don't care if they had the lead at some point or not, scoring only one or two runs should not come with an expectation of winning the game.

The pen has issues. Whitlock isn't the answer. We might as well say move Eovaldi or Wacha to the pen to fix the problem. It's just moving deck chairs around. The solution is finding better chairs.
 

BaseballJones

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One thing that's been really solid has been the starting pitching.

20 starts from these five guys:
Eovaldi: 2.51 era
Wacha: 1.38 era
Hill: 3.71 era
Houck: 3.21 era (as a starter)
Whitlock: 1.50 era (as a starter)

5 starts from this guy:
Pivetta: 7.84 era

So 80% of their starts have come from guys who have been excellent in the starting role. But man, the bullpen (especially lately) and the offense (all season long) have been putrid.
 

Rovin Romine

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My preference is to keep Whitlock in his current role -- if his role was to close out the game last night, that's 5 innings you have to replace at the beginning and maybe there's no lead to close out. The bullpen is not doing their job, but that's a different problem, one that is easier (and cheaper) to fix than finding a starter of Whitlock's ability.
If they had Barnes on track this wouldn't be a problem.

As for Whitlock, I think they should have moved him to the bullpen. The point of it is that he can deal with high leverage innings in a game where the other pitchers haven't shit the bed. In short, you get to use him in games that matter, because you're deploying him in close games. By starting him you make his innings more of a crapshoot.

If they had a "close out" crew in the bullpen and a B squad, that'd be fine. But they just seem to have a B+ to C- bullpen, with no relief ace. It's like Bloom won't give up on some guys. Which is sort of fine in isolation, but what's his best-case scenario here?

Adding to what BJ said, I believe they’ve lost every game Whitlock has started even though he’s pitched well. That single move, made necessary by Houck’s stupidity, has derailed the season.
Not really, and I'm no Houck fan. The Sox could have called up a AAA starter, or the like.

I think the commitment to Whitlock in the rotation is either looking forward to 2023 (protecting a signed asset's arm with regular work) and/or it indicates that there's some bad behind-the-scenes news on Sale, Paxton, or another starter (Pivetta?). Although it may just be hedging their bets on both fronts.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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If Whitlock comes in during a close game (say, the Sox up 2-1) in the 5th and pitches them into the 8th,* the offense still has to score enough runs to protect that lead which at this point, seems unlikely.

Then again... maybe they're collectively showing signs of breaking out of the offensive funk. I have maintained that they just need to hold on until Sale and Paxton can get in. Whitlock and Houck both in the pen. So if the recent uptick in offensive production is for real there's still reason to be optimistic.

EDIT- * adding in here that he'd unlikely pitch 4 innings. More likely if he came in to relief in the 5th he'd be done after the 7th, meaning the Sox would have 2 weak bullpen innings afterwards.
 

BaseballJones

ivanvamp
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If they had Barnes on track this wouldn't be a problem.

As for Whitlock, I think they should have moved him to the bullpen. The point of it is that he can deal with high leverage innings in a game where the other pitchers haven't shit the bed. In short, you get to use him in games that matter, because you're deploying him in close games. By starting him you make his innings more of a crapshoot.

If they had a "close out" crew in the bullpen and a B squad, that'd be fine. But they just seem to have a B+ to C- bullpen, with no relief ace. It's like Bloom won't give up on some guys. Which is sort of fine in isolation, but what's his best-case scenario here?
The best case scenario is that the bullpen guys get their crap together and start pitching like actual major league pitchers. They do have it in them. For example...

Davis: 3.09 era this year, was decent in stretches last year (though I'm not remotely a fan and think on the whole he's not good)
Strahm: 2.05 era in 2018; 2.61 era in 2020
Sawamura: 3.06 era last year
Diekman: 3.40 era in 2016; 2.53 era in 2017; 0.42 era in 2020
Robles: 2.48 era in 2019; 1.74 era this year
Barnes: 3.65 era in 2018; 3.79 era last year

I mean, none of these guys is prime Mariano Rivera, obviously. But they've all demonstrated that they CAN be legit, solid MLB relief pitchers. Their issue is consistency, or more accurately, a lack of it. You don't know if you're going to get good Strahm or bad Strahm this year. Good Robles or bad Robles. Good Barnes or bad Barnes.

Because they don't really have any guys in the bullpen who are consistently really good, all of them are crapshoots. And when you have a bullpen full of crapshoots, quite often you're going to get the bad version.

Not really, and I'm no Houck fan. The Sox could have called up a AAA starter, or the like.

I think the commitment to Whitlock in the rotation is either looking forward to 2023 (protecting a signed asset's arm with regular work) and/or it indicates that there's some bad behind-the-scenes news on Sale, Paxton, or another starter (Pivetta?). Although it may just be hedging their bets on both fronts.
Agreed. This isn't because of Houck. They have a long-term plan for Whitlock, and it's to be a starter. Or so it seems to me.
 

moondog80

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The point of it is that he can deal with high leverage innings in a game where the other pitchers haven't shit the bed. In short, you get to use him in games that matter, because you're deploying him in close games. By starting him you make his innings more of a crapshoot.
RedHawksFan touches on this above, but why does this logic only apply to Whitlock and not Eovaldi or Wacha, or Gerrit Cole or Clayton Kershaw or anyone else?

I think the commitment to Whitlock in the rotation is either looking forward to 2023 (protecting a signed asset's arm with regular work) and/or it indicates that there's some bad behind-the-scenes news on Sale, Paxton, or another starter (Pivetta?). Although it may just be hedging their bets on both fronts.
I think it's simpler than that. Whitlock is in the rotation because it's the best use of resources. Bullpen usage has changed dramatically over the years, but one thing that remains constant is that if you can be effective starter, that's where you are.
 

OCD SS

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I think it's simpler than that. Whitlock is in the rotation because it's the best use of resources. Bullpen usage has changed dramatically over the years, but one thing that remains constant is that if you can be effective starter, that's where you are.
I think we also have to consider that there are likely rules changes coming down the pike to incentivize starting pitching and stopping the trend of bullpen games.
 

Rovin Romine

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Their issue is consistency, or more accurately, a lack of it. You don't know if you're going to get good Strahm or bad Strahm this year. Good Robles or bad Robles. Good Barnes or bad Barnes.

Because they don't really have any guys in the bullpen who are consistently really good, all of them are crapshoots. And when you have a bullpen full of crapshoots, quite often you're going to get the bad version.
This is exacerbated when you pull starters the second time through the lineup and commit to 3 or 4 relievers per game. I'd be curious to see the numbers from 5 years ago or so compared to today. It just seems to me that if you don't have consistency out of the pen, one of those relievers will turn out "not to have it" for at least 3 batters.


RedHawksFan touches on this above, but why does this logic only apply to Whitlock and not Eovaldi or Wacha, or Gerrit Cole or Clayton Kershaw or anyone else?
Because Whitlock has a recent history (this season) of being a multiple inning relief ace, unlike, say, Hill. And with a sluggish offense featuring several possible season-long black holes, close games will abound, and having a relief ace will convert more of those close games into wins. Especially a high K relief ace who can strand runners.

Also, just from a logical point of view, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Generally, it's true that you want your best pitchers to be starters, with the idea that they can go deep into games keeping scoring low, while allowing your team to score. But that assumes a competent bullpen.
- So, posit a club with 5 Kershaws who can only go 8 innings, and a bullpen full of Plaweckis. That team loses a lot of games. Convert that to 4 Kershaw starters and a Kershaw in relief who can go every other day when needed, and they're a much better club.​
- Now posit a club with 5 Kershaws that can only go through the line-up twice or not get out of the 5th due to pitch counts (call them Houcks). With a bullpen of Plaweckis, that team loses all of its games.​
But no one builds a club like that because it's obvious you need effective pitching across 9 innings to win games.

Here, the question is the tradeoff between having another good starter, and having a bullpen that can convert deliberately short starts.

Again, if Barnes was Good Barnes, it's a different equation. This begs the question: if Barnes was Good Barnes, should we advocate for a "twice through the lineup" rotation of Eovaldi, Macha, Whitlock, Houck, and Barnes? With a bullpen of something like Robles, Davis, Sawamura, Brasier, Diekman, Pivetta, Crawford, and Hill?

I think that would be insane.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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Even though the starters have decent ERA’s, they aren’t going deep into games at all. So in most games, the Sox need to find a way to 12+ outs. With the three lefties, that inevitably leads to trying to get ideal matchups. But when you go to 4+ relievers a night, you are inevitably going to end up with some bad matchups especially when the pen is filled with the same type of high walk rate guys. The three batter minimum exacerbates the situation- Diekman made sense for the LH Walsh last night. The problem was once he couldn’t get him, he had a bad matchup with the next guy.

The Rich Hill situation is a problem too. It’s challenging to use a rotation spot on a pitcher you have so little confidence in, that he requires holding another pitcher in reserve to relieve him. Although, they don’t have to do it that way. Don’t understand why Houck couldn’t have pitched yesterday, or why Crawford can’t be the designated Hill caddy, or whatever.
 

moondog80

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This is exacerbated when you pull starters the second time through the lineup and commit to 3 or 4 relievers per game. I'd be curious to see the numbers from 5 years ago or so compared to today. It just seems to me that if you don't have consistency out of the pen, one of those relievers will turn out "not to have it" for at least 3 batters.




Because Whitlock has a recent history (this season) of being a multiple inning relief ace, unlike, say, Hill. And with a sluggish offense featuring several possible season-long black holes, close games will abound, and having a relief ace will convert more of those close games into wins. Especially a high K relief ace who can strand runners.

Also, just from a logical point of view, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. Generally, it's true that you want your best pitchers to be starters, with the idea that they can go deep into games keeping scoring low, while allowing your team to score. But that assumes a competent bullpen.
- So, posit a club with 5 Kershaws who can only go 8 innings, and a bullpen full of Plaweckis. That team loses a lot of games. Convert that to 4 Kershaw starters and a Kershaw in relief who can go every other day when needed, and they're a much better club.​
- Now posit a club with 5 Kershaws that can only go through the line-up twice or not get out of the 5th due to pitch counts (call them Houcks). With a bullpen of Plaweckis, that team loses all of its games.​
But no one builds a club like that because it's obvious you need effective pitching across 9 innings to win games.

Here, the question is the tradeoff between having another good starter, and having a bullpen that can convert deliberately short starts.

Again, if Barnes was Good Barnes, it's a different equation. This begs the question: if Barnes was Good Barnes, should we advocate for a "twice through the lineup" rotation of Eovaldi, Macha, Whitlock, Houck, and Barnes? With a bullpen of something like Robles, Davis, Sawamura, Brasier, Diekman, Pivetta, Crawford, and Hill?

I think that would be insane.

They are not locked into going to battle with these guys. If the bullpen isn't doing their job, help them do better, or get better guys. But Whitlock could be a difference maker as a starter, moving him to the bullpen would be a panic move that would probably end up in winning fewer games in the sort term and could mess with his development long term.
 

jon abbey

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It's worth noting that Whitlock was nothing special in 2021 when used with less than 3 days of rest:

Less than 3 days rest:

24.2 30 14 12 9 28, 4.38 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

3 days of rest or more:

48.2 34 8 4 8 53, 0.74 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

He is not really cut out for a normal bullpen role, with 1 or 0 days rest between outings. NY didn't protect him originally because they thought of him as a SP, not a reliever.
 

Rovin Romine

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They are not locked into going to battle with these guys. If the bullpen isn't doing their job, help them do better, or get better guys. But Whitlock could be a difference maker as a starter, moving him to the bullpen would be a panic move that would probably end up in winning fewer games in the sort term and could mess with his development long term.
What are you trying to say? Yes, if we had a great bullpen, and crappy starters, Whitlock should be a starter.

(And consider retiring "battle" metaphors? It's a sport - a luxury entertainment, and there's enough real death in the world.)

It's worth noting that Whitlock was nothing special in 2021 when used with less than 3 days of rest:

Less than 3 days rest:

24.2 30 14 12 9 28, 4.38 ERA, 1.63 WHIP

3 days of rest or more:

48.2 34 8 4 8 53, 0.74 ERA, 0.86 WHIP

He is not really cut out for a normal bullpen role, with 1 or 0 days rest between outings. NY didn't protect him originally because they thought of him as a SP, not a reliever.
Interesting. I'm sure part of those numbers were driven by the cautious approach early in the season, given his injury recovery. Oddly, he did better on 1 days rest than 2 days rest, but your overall point stands.
 

moondog80

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What are you trying to say? Yes, if we had a great bullpen, and crappy starters, Whitlock should be a starter.
I'm saying that a very good starter is more valuable commodity. If Whitlock can perform in that role at a high level, he should stay there. For the same reason nobody would suggest solving 1B by moving Xander there, even though he would likely be very effective (with the proper build up).
 

Sox Puppet

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Those starter numbers might be a little misleading, since 69.2 IP in 14 games averages out to not even 5 IP per game. So yes, those numbers look great (and are great), but Cora's quick hook means we are frittering away all of these performances by overprioritizing mediocre bullpen innings.
 

cantor44

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I mean, none of these guys is prime Mariano Rivera, obviously. But they've all demonstrated that they CAN be legit, solid MLB relief pitchers.

B
[/QUOTE]

Right. Somewhere in there the Red Sox went from pursuing and securing all-star caliber players, to pursuing and securing solid players. How did it come to this?
 

iddoc

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I mean, none of these guys is prime Mariano Rivera, obviously. But they've all demonstrated that they CAN be legit, solid MLB relief pitchers.

B
Right. Somewhere in there the Red Sox went from pursuing and securing all-star caliber players, to pursuing and securing solid players. How did it come to this?
[/QUOTE]
The advent of the de facto salary cap.
 

cantor44

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Right. Somewhere in there the Red Sox went from pursuing and securing all-star caliber players, to pursuing and securing solid players. How did it come to this?
The advent of the de facto salary cap.
[/QUOTE]
Well. Don't tell Dave Dombrowski that. Or the Dodgers. All the teams deal with the de facto salary cap, and not all the teams seem restricted to only pursuing solid players.

I'm all for dipping under every few years to avoid the penalties (in the last CBA at least, I admit ignorance on the new one). But the Red Sox are a very wealthy franchise. They don't need to build a pitching staff on solid, was good in 2018, if he can recover from surgery, if, if, if ... sure, the last couple slots you take fliers on some relief guys and see who sticks, and every now and then someone does.

But you can win the subtextual competition of dollars per WAR or such and feel clever, or you can just win. And to win you gotta have a threshold of un-compromised talent that's better than just solid.
 

soxhop411

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You realize what he means by the de facto salary cap yes?

two CBA’s ago the Sox and Yankees could (and frequently did) spend as much money on FA’s (and in the draft and international FA) in one season that would be larger then GDP of a small nation. Since the de facto salary cap was put into place, that has curtailed the ability of the Sox, Yankees etc to spend like they did during that CBA.


also. You may have forgotten, but the Sox were one of the few teams to spend over the highest CBT threshold (only once) since the CBT was put into place. And as a result they had their first round pick dropped later into the first round.

Which is why the people who claim Sox ownership is “cheap” really annoys me.
 
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scottyno

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I'm all for dipping under every few years to avoid the penalties (in the last CBA at least, I admit ignorance on the new one). But the Red Sox are a very wealthy franchise. They don't need to build a pitching staff on solid, was good in 2018, if he can recover from surgery, if, if, if ... sure, the last couple slots you take fliers on some relief guys and see who sticks, and every now and then someone does.
Ironic that the one guy in the current rotation that fits your description is currently 4th in baseball in era+
 

Rovin Romine

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Right. Somewhere in there the Red Sox went from pursuing and securing all-star caliber players, to pursuing and securing solid players. How did it come to this?
I'd be curious to see which Sox all-stars were all-stars when acquired (and continued to be), and which became all-stars after their acquisition.
 

grimshaw

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Those starter numbers might be a little misleading, since 69.2 IP in 14 games averages out to not even 5 IP per game. So yes, those numbers look great (and are great), but Cora's quick hook means we are frittering away all of these performances by overprioritizing mediocre bullpen innings.
Mostly agreed, though I'm not sure it's as much prioritizing so much as rolling the dice and failing with the extra staff on hand - something Cora has not been able to do where he had succeeded last season.

Rich Hill has a recent history of 5 and done and he's old and could break if pushed much. Whitlock is still building up innings. Nick Pivetta (and recently Houck) you want out of there after 0 pitches. I would think if anyone, it's Wacha they push a bit more and keep leaning on Eovaldi.

Kutter Crawford has also not worked out as their long guy. I would hope they start giving looks to one or more of Seabold, Wincowski, or Shreiber (waiving bye-bye to Valdez) since they are getting a whole lot of replacement level or below innings. They may not be the answers, but it's time to get some more guys who can go two plus innings instead of praying to god they get favorably match ups from pitchers who have no business in high leverage innings.

Crippled is too strong a word since they went a long ways last season and can absorb poor signings and still function, but Chris Sale - going on three seasons now has affected the construction of the pitching staff more negatively than perhaps any Sox pitcher ever. I am very happy Bloom is staying away from those type of deals for now at the very least.
 
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Red(s)HawksFan

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That doesn't seem like it can be correct. You're not going to IL Kike for 15 days because he's sick. Can the Covid protocols be used to get a replacement without a positive test? And Kike can simply come back whenever he feels better?
COVID IL is for players that test positive, show symptoms, or are close contacts to a positive person. I think that second part is where Kike could be put on the IL even if it isn't actually COVID.
 

nvalvo

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Those starter numbers might be a little misleading, since 69.2 IP in 14 games averages out to not even 5 IP per game. So yes, those numbers look great (and are great), but Cora's quick hook means we are frittering away all of these performances by overprioritizing mediocre bullpen innings.
Or… Cora’s quick hook means we are getting starters out before they get roughed up by the top of the order that they’re seeing for the third time.
 

Max Power

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COVID IL is for players that test positive, show symptoms, or are close contacts to a positive person. I think that second part is where Kike could be put on the IL even if it isn't actually COVID.
According to MLB Trade Rumors, symptoms are sufficient without a positive test.

Red Sox To Promote Jarren Duran - MLB Trade Rumors

This is actually something that should survive past Covid. It would be nice if a player could stay away from the team if they're sick so the flu doesn't spread through the team. There just has to be a way to stop the Rays from taking advantage of it to keep fresh bullpen arms out there.
 

Cesar Crespo

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Right. Somewhere in there the Red Sox went from pursuing and securing all-star caliber players, to pursuing and securing solid players. How did it come to this?
They just signed Trevor Story? You can't fill every position with an all star. And signing solid players worked out pretty well in the WS years.

I think it's obvious the team is willing to spend, they just aren't willing to go over a certain amount of years. Personally, I love that approach. Keep builidng from within and fill the gaps by signing solid players and all stars that aren't in the upper echeleon of players.

If/when they do start offering 10 year deals, hopefully it's to players like Mayer, Casas and Yorke if they have any success in their first 2 years. Buying out their cost controlled years should keep the price down and there should be far less (if any) dead years at the end of the contract.


And which ones were all-stars when acquired and then proceeded to underperform while with Boston.
And which ones were solid players when acquired and then proceed to overperform/become all-stars while with Boston. Though I think it's been awhile. I'd guess Adrian Beltre. I know he had that 48 HR season but he didn't make the all star game. If it's not him, it might be David Ortiz.

Plus how does one qualify players like Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino who were technically "all-stars" when acquired? And how far back do we go?
 

Harry Hooper

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Chad Finn has an article about Sunday's 11:30 AM start [boldface added]:

Their 11:30 a.m. game against the White Sox stands as the debut for the NBC streaming service Peacock’s “MLB Sunday Leadoff” package, which will feature an exclusive late-morning/early-afternoon game over each of the next 18 Sundays.

While the broadcast of this particular game will be simulcast on NBC, the Peacock MLB schedule is one more example of how live sports rights are extremely desirable programming for streaming services — even the divvying up of these rights (NHL games on ESPN+, MLB on AppleTV+, NFL’s Thursday night package on Amazon, etc.) complicates matters and budgets for viewers.
...
Cordella and Sam Flood, executive producer and president of NBC Sports production, were vague on some details for the sake of Sunday’s reveal, but the broadcasts almost certainly will feature graphical and musical callbacks to NBC’s fondly remembered heyday of baseball coverage in the 1970s and ‘80s. Vin Scully, who teamed with Joe Garagiola on NBC’s No. 1 broadcast team for its “Game of the Week” coverage in the ‘80s, will narrate a special show open at 11:30 a.m., right after the half-hour pregame show.


On a somewhat related note, a nice person is offering four free tickets to this game on craigslist: https://boston.craigslist.org/gbs/zip/d/brookline-village-free-tickets-fenway/7479978927.html